Though social media usage and users increased in the pandemic, we are seeing something of a shift in attitude at the moment, with younger consumers seeking out new social experiences (and moving increasingly away from Facebook). Indeed, Facebook reported a dip in monthly active users for the first time back in February.
In contrast, TikTok continues to see growth, being named as the world’s most downloaded app in Q1 2022. The popularity of the video-sharing app – driven by its authenticity, creativity, and accessibility – has also spurred on a new trend in social media, and the arrival of other apps that mirror its pursuit of ‘realness’.
Notably, many of these new apps are designed to encourage mindful usage, and shape new user behaviours. So, could the growing popularity of these apps signal a new era for social?
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Let’s look at three of them…
Thursday aims to reduce ‘dating fatigue’ with one-day-a-week app limit
Social media usage levels might be high, but mindless scrolling is an issue for many people, often leading to passive engagement on social platforms rather than meaningful or positive experiences. This is also particularly the case when it comes to certain types of apps, such as dating, where gamification – and the instantaneous decision to swipe right or left – can leave users feeling overwhelmed with choice and simultaneously under-whelmed by any potential matches.
A new dating app, Thursday, aims to combat ‘dating fatigue’ by reducing the amount of time people can use it to just one day a week. In doing so, the aim is to instil a sense of urgency, and encourage users to act quickly if they want to set up a date. According to reports, Thursday has been downloaded 750,000 times within the past nine months.
Dating apps have played around with these kinds of rules before – Bumble famously only allows women to reach out first, while Clover encourages users to video chat (or go on a ‘virtual’ date). In a similar vein to Thursday, dating app Once also uses an algorithm to deliver users just one match per day, encouraging them to take more time when considering potential matches (compared to other fast-paced apps).
Of course, it remains to be seen how these limits will truly affect the dynamics on dating apps, as user intentions are always unknown. However, with apps like Thursday gaining traction, it’s an interesting evolution of the dating app industry.
BeReal encourages authentic and candid photo sharing with daily notifications
Despite its position as one of the top five most popular social media apps, Instagram isn’t without its problems, with the platform repeatedly being linked to the harmful effects of social media – particularly when it comes to the mental health of young people. As the APA’s Zara Abrams states, “By design, the app capitalizes on users’ biological drive for social belonging—and nudges them to keep on scrolling.”